Hope and Survival: The Halifax Explosion Memorial Quilt

Hope and Survival: The Halifax Explosion Memorial Quilt, is made up of the centrepiece accompanied by the Scroll of Remembrance. The centrepiece contains the image of blue smoke on which several subtle references are placed such as a red canoe referencing the decimation of the Mi’kmaq village, buildings partially obscured by the smoke, a map of the Halifax Harbour indicating the explosion and the ghostly migration of survivors in the lower right quadrant. Other features are the flying girl, the stopped clock and four vignettes, including the impact of the Mont Blanc with the Imo and the aftermath. 

The Scroll is comprised of 172 panels, each with 12 names in script and beaded Braille. Sets of three compiled into three columns represent a window, reinforcing the fact where many victims were standing when the blast took place. Hung on either side of the centrepiece, the scroll expands to 30 feet.

From the 2020 Masterworks jury:

Hope and Survival is poignant in that it is almost like wrapping a blanket around the event as an act of healing – exactly what a memorial should be.”

Tom McFall retired to Lunenburg 2017 after 25 years as Executive Director and Curator of the Alberta Craft Council. ACC is Alberta’s largest provincial arts service organization, operating public galleries in Edmonton and Calgary, generating public awareness, and providing member career services province-wide.

While with ACC, Tom…
– curated and coordinated over 200 exhibitions of fine craft
– directed retail sales, marketing projects, publications, media coverage, events, awards,
that foster and promote professional craft activities, throughout Alberta
– developed special projects such as conferences, exhibitions, trade junkets to present
Alberta and Canadian craft, nationally and in USA, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands
– co-founded the Canadian Crafts Federation, and Craft Year 2007 and 2015 with more than 700 events
– contributed to a wide range of information and advocacy projects in craft, arts, culture, education, aboriginal, tourism and other settings.

Tom’s curatorial work, creative projects, writing and profiles have appeared in more than 200 articles, news stories, media interviews, and documentaries. His final big project for the Alberta Craft Council was multi-year planning, fundraising, design, supervision, and opening of the new Alberta Craft Gallery – Calgary.